12.9. Ascension Of The Cybermen / The Timeless Children

Series 12 - 2020

Writer: Chris Chibnall
Series Producer: Nikki Wilson
Director: Jamie Magnus Stone
Music: Segun Akinola


An island, similar to Ireland, early 20th century: Cycling home Patrick finds an abandonded baby. He takes it hole and calls the police. Patrick's wife, Meg, says they will look after the baby until the parents are found. Over time the parents are not found and Patrick and Med adopt the baby boy: Brendan. In time Brendan grows up to be a guard in the local police force, untikl one day he is shot on duty. He falls off a cliff, but moments later wakes up as though nothing has happened and goes after the shooter. After that he lives to take retirement. Upon retirement Brendan's father, and a Sergeant, take Brendan to a back office where his memory is wiped.

On a distant planet in the future, the Doctor, Graham, Ryan, and Yaz, find a colony with human life signs. The colony of 7 could all that remain after a massive Cyber-war. In the colony Ravio says a ship that can take them away could be ready within a day. First Cyber-shuttles appear, then the Doctor and her companions appear offering to help. Ravio is wary, but they need all the help they can get. The Doctor has brought equipment that can set up a neural suppression field that would cancel out the Cybermen's emotional inhibitors causing them pain, a particle projector that emits gold into the air (Cybermen are allergic to gold), and a rudimentary force field that should fry any Cybermen.

The colony is first attacked by Cyber-drones that target the defences the Doctor has set up. One of the colonists, Fuskle, is killed. The Doctor tells the colonists to get into their ship while she buys them time. The Doctor orders Graham, Ryan, and Yaz, to go with the humans to avoid being captured and converted by the Cybermen. As they leave Ashad, the Cyberman from Villa Diodati (see The Haunting of Villa Diodati), enters the colony now the defences have been destroyed, with two other beat up, rusty, Cybermen.

With Cybermen chasing them the colonists, and the Doctor's companions head for the Gravraft. Ravio has no choice but to take off despite the fact Ethan, Feekat, and Ryan, have been separated. Ryan meets up with the Doctor whilst Feekat and Ethan hide in a building. Feekat is killed by Ashad, but Ethan is saved by the Doctor and Ryan. Too far from the TARDIS the Doctor, Ethan, and Ryan, steal one of the Cyber-ships.

Unlike the Cyber-ship the Gravraft is in a state of disrepair. Ravio is determined to get to Ko-Sharmus, but in order to do that she has to push the ship hard before the life support dies. But going above 50% risks destroying the ship as well. On Ko-Sharmus they can get to the boundary, a gateway to another part of the Universe, which could take them away from the Cybermen. On board the Cyber-ship Ethan sets course for Ko-Sharmus. With warp drive they can get their first.

During the trip the Gravraft's engines give up and the Gravraft is left drifting inside a debris field of dormant Cyber-ships and Cybermen. By venting oxygen Ravio is able to direct the Gravraft to a docking bay on a Cybership. Their arrival triggers sensors that start the ship waking up. As Ethan starts to reboot the ship Graham and Ravio take a look round the ship. It soon becomes apparent that the ship is a troop carrier and has hundreds of levels, each one with hundreds of dormant Cybermen.

As the ship reboots an alarm sounds: they've been boarded by Ashad and two Cybermen who followed them from their colony. As Ethan pilots the ship to Ko-Sharmus they can see Ashad on the monitors opening up containers and start reactivating, and attacking, Cybermen. Once the Cybermen have reactived Ashad tells the humans his army is coming for them.

The Doctor, Ethan, and Ryan, in their stolen Cyber-shuttle, make it to Ko-Sharmus where a man (who says he is Ko Sharmus) greets them. Ko Sharmus tells the Doctor that he, and other people, escaped the Cyberwar and made to a planet that was outside the Cyberwar. Overtime he helped all the people cross the Boundary, leaving his as the only person on the planet. Ko Sharmus takes the Doctor to a beach, and as the Doctor steps forward the Boundary opens.

As the Cyber-ship gets close to Ko-Sharmus Yaz is able to communicate with the Doctor to tell her that they are on their way - with a cruiser full of Cybermen. Through the Boundary the Doctor can see another world: the remains of the Capitol on Gallifrey. As she watches a figure comes through the Boundary: The Master.

The Master, after threatening everyone with his tissue compression eliminator, takes the Doctor thorugh the Boundary to Gallifrey. Ryan is keen to go after her but Ethan wants to wait for Ravio, Yedlarmi, Bescot, Graham, and Yaz, to arrive. Moments later the ship arrives overhead, but they humans are still trapped on board. After Bescot is killed Graham has a mad idea to escape: find some still dormant Cybermen and wear the armour as a disguise.

On Gallifrey the Doctor can see the still burning ruins of the Capitol. The Master takes her to the Citadel. As he's showing off he gets a notification that the Cybermen have reached the Boundary, and he invites the Cybermen to join him on Gallifrey. Ashad sends three units of Cybermen to the planet's surface to deal with Ethan, Ryan, and Ko Sharmus, whilst the ship heads through the Boundary to Gallifrey.

Whilst waiting for the Cybermen the Master tells the Doctor that whilst he destroyed everything he left the Matrix, the repository of all Time Lord knowledge. Whilst hacking the Matrix the Master learned secrets of the Time Lords, and he sends the Doctor into the Matrix to learn them for herself. The Master, also in the Matrix, tells the Doctor about Tecteun, of the Shobogans, the first indigenous life-form on Gallfrey. Tecteun developed space travel and set off to explore other worlds. Tecteun found a Boundary to another Universe. At the base of the Boundary she found a lost child. Tecteun returned to Gallfrey with the child where she tried to learn about the child. But one day, whilst the child was playing with another boy, there was an accident and she fell off a cliff. Tecteun thought the child was dead - until she regenerated. Tecteun felt the need to understand regeneration, and by experimenting on her child she came up with a serum that she injected into herself to give herself the ability to regenerate. After a Time Lord society grew from Tecteun's experiments the Doctor asked about the child: the Master reveals that the Doctor is the Timeless Child.

But there is one part of the Matrix that the Master cannot access. He hopes, by transmiitting images of the Island into the Doctor's mind, that she may be able to break through the redaction to reveal lost knowledge of the Division.

While part of the Master's consciousness in inside the Matrix with the Doctor, the Master is free to welcome the Cybermen. Ashad is wary of the Master, and he tells the Master that he plans to destroy all organic life using the Death Particle. Inside his chest ois a single particle that is capable of destroying all organic life. The Master points out that Cybermen are part organic, but Ashad explains his new army will be entirely robotic. Asahd takes the Master to the Cybership. The Master wants to see the Cyberium, but Asahd tells the Master it will not leave him whilst he lives: so the Master shoots him with the tissue compression eliminator. He leaves the tiny Ashad on the floor while he talks to, anfd joins with, the Cyberium.

As the Doctor recovers after being in the Matrix the Master reveals that whilst he killed everyone of Gallifrey he did keep the bodies. He asks the Doctor to imagine Time Lords bodies, with the ability to regenerate, inside Cyber-armour. She doesn't need to imagine as several Time Lord Cybermen enter the room. The Master tests his theory by ordering one Cyberman to kill another. A few moments later the dead Cyberman regenerates. Before he leaves the Master traps the Doctor in the Matrix again. But after talking to an alternative regeneration the Doctor uses the power of her mind to break of the Matrix. She's found by Ravio, Ko Sharmus, Yedlarmi, Ethan, Graham, Ryan, and Yaz, who have defeated the Cybermen on Ko-Sharmus and travelled through the Boundary to find the Doctor.

The Doctor suddenly realises what the alternative Doctor in the Matrix was telling her about Ashad: At one he told the Doctor that the end of all life was within him, and Ravio tells the Doctor about the legend of the Death Particle that is supposed to be inside Ashad. With Ravio, Ethan, Yedlarmi, and Ko Sharmus setting explosives they brought with them in the Cyber-ship the Doctor, Gallifrey, Ryan, and Yaz, go looking for the Master. On the way they find the tiny Ashad with the Death Particle still inside him.

With the Cyber-ship destroyed the Doctor finds a TARDIS which can take all the humans to Earth. She has the Death Particle and one explosive charge. With that she could destroy all life on Gallifrey, which would destroy to the Master and his new Cybermen. After the TARDIS has left she meets the Master, and his Cybermen, in the Matrix chamber. She shows the Master the explosive with Ashad attached. The Master taunts the Doctor to see if she really would use the Death Particle. When the Doctor hesitates Ko Sharmus appears, and takes over the explosive from the Doctor. The Doctor finds a second TARDIS and dematerialises as the explosive ignites and destroys all organic life on Gallifrey.

On Earth the first TARDIS, disguised as a house, arrives in 21st century Sheffield. The Doctor's new TARDIS arrives on the first colony planet where she is reunited with her TARDIS. Once inside she is mulling over the adventure she has had when Judoon transmat into the TARDIS and sentence her to life imprisonment. The Doctor is suddenly teleported away and into a cell in an prison inside an asteroid in space.

Regular Cast

  • Graham O'Brien: Bradley Walsh
  • Ryan Sinclair: Tosin Cole
  • Yasmin Khan: Mandip Gill

Guest Cast

  • The Master: Sacha Dhawan
  • Ashad: Patrick O'Kane
  • Ravio: Julie Graham
  • Ko Sharmus: Ian McElhinney
  • Yedlarmi: Alex Austin
  • Feekat: Steve Toussaint (9)
  • Bescot: Rhiannon Clements
  • Ethan: Matt Carver
  • Fuskle: Jack Osborn (9)
  • Brendan: Evan McCabe (9)
  • Patrick: Branwell Donaghey (9)
  • Meg: Orla O'Rourke (9)
  • Michael: Andrew Macklin (9)
  • Sergeant: Caolan Byrne (9)
  • Voice of Cybermen and Judoon Captain (10): Nicholas Briggs
  • Cybermen: Matthew Rohman, Simon Carew, Jon Davey, Richard Highgate, Richard Price, Mickey Lewis, Matthew Doman, Paul Bailey
  • Tacteun: Seylan Baxter (10)
  • Solpado: Kirsty Besterman (10)
  • Special guest appearance as the Doctor: Jo Martin (10)

Original broadcast on the BBC

Channel Title Date Viewers Rating
BBC 1 (HD) 9. Ascension Of The Cybermen Sunday, February 23, 2020 7:10 PM - 8:00 PM 4.99M 81
BBC 1 (HD) 10. The Timeless Children Sunday, March 1, 2020 6:50 PM - 8:00 PM 4.69M 82

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